midnight tea (at Trux)
Yours Truly tumblrin' from htx. student of art history & African american studies. seasonal tumblr addict. year round cortado sipper. professional "art" collector + Opinions for days + #scuttleclique
Love Letters from the Trap is currently accepting/calling for stories on findings, discoveries, realizations, and the moment you understood that someone close to you was a dealer or user of drugs, or stories regarding how you came to understand what drugs were. Drugs is not limited to weed, and…
I always spend a significantly greater amount of time on Tumblr in the winter. It seems that the art/art history related blogs I follow get better during this season, or all the fashion blogs I follow get weaker/nobody wants to post pictures of black girls killing it in long coats. This is all besides the point …
Strange Flowers a series by Olaf Hajek caught my eye today. One of the images from the series came up when I searched “google doodle sembene”, and I briefly believed that the middle image was indeed the great filmmaker.I was wrong-but still intrigued.
The dark flatness of the background, and the people in the paintings covered over by their accoutrements of accumulations (mostly “natural” forms such as flowers, monkeys, water) is stunning. The people are somber, and they look past the viewer. The lines are precise in some areas-extremely curvaceous in others. Most importantly after seeing the work, and knowing it was shown in South Africa I think I know what it is about.
Naturally after falling in love with the images I needed to do my own research. I clicked the “Visit Page” and was lead to the African Digital Art website where I read a brief write up of Hajek’s most recent body of work. Was definitely perplexed by the comparisons made and decided to go research Hajek’s work on my own.
I found the following: 1) Strange Flowers is not his most recent body, the information on African Digital Art was ripped directly from the press release on Hajek’s page 2) Hajek is not an African, nor does he live in Africa, nor does his biography include a substantial amount of information that would implicate Africa as an influence for Hajek 3) After finding out that Hajek was not African my connection to the work was broken, and immediately became defensive, riddled with WHY WOULD HE PORTRAY AFRICANS/BLACKS IN THIS MANNER IF HE IS NOT AFRICAN?
My reaction was short-lived, considering I simultaneously did the research on Hajek, had a fit, and wrote (am writing) about it all in one sitting. My reaction was a lesson to myself at a time when I am very impressionable from what I am reading for school (doing a lot of research on ethnographic presentations of Africa and Africans), paired with my own longing to return to Africa, and topped with initial zeal that I found a new amazing African artist to do research on who made really really flat work.
Despite all this, I encourage everyone to appreciate and enjoy Hajek’s work.
when you really wanna get shit poppin’,
and you have this jolt of inspiration.
then you get in the house and get on tumblr.
… but i’m still not being a narcissist and posting pictures of myself on the daily so I don’t know how long this is going to last.
Bonaventure Ndikung is thefounder of Savvy Contemporary, an artspace and project that facilitates encounters and exchange between “western” and “non-western art”.
Savvy focuses on creating a dialogue between Western and Non-Western Art. Could you explain how that focus came about?
It came about from a lack, a vacuum. It was clear that Berlin had become a kind of a centre of contemporary art, with artists from all over the world moving to Berlin. Still, there was a very strong Euro-American axis present in Berlin’s or Germany’s art scene as a whole. The museums, kunstvereins and other houses show brilliant exhibits, but mostly by American or European artists. Once in a while they dropped an exotic name like Hiroshi Sugimoto, but apart from that it was barren territory for artists of a non-Western background. Another option was to find exhibitions with non-Western artists only in such spaces that were meant for “foreign cultures”. You see what I mean? These many brilliant international artists that have shows all over the world in big museums would probably be shown in the context of “foreign cultures”. Now, as good as the intention might be to show them in such institutions, it just propagates a kind of otherness, ghettoization, or exoticization. That’s where we came in: self-confident to say that we wanted to do thematic shows that would always have a position from the West and another from the non-West. We wanted to create a discourse platform on which the perspectives from the West and non-West on issues like the post-colonial, on the digital age, on identity, on science and technology, on gender and more could be deliberated upon through the prism of art. Mind you, we were not naïve enough to think that using such terminology like West and non-West were not problematic. But as Stuart Hall would put it, such concepts have to be put under erasure, deconstructed, to bring Derrida in play.
Read the full interview on ArtInfo
Still from Borom Sarret, 1963. Dir.Ousmane Sembène
Greek Art & Archaeology , 5th edition, Pedley
Makers & Breakers , Honwana
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, Kwamkwamba
Half of a Yellow Sun, Adichie
No Longer at Ease, Achebe
Dancing in the Glory of Monsters, Stearns
Kwame Anthony Appiah back in the day in traditional Asante dress. I can only imagine what his young great mind was thinking about.
"Do not call the forest that shelters you a jungle."
"A value is like a fax machine: it’s not much use if you’re the only one who has one."
Kwame Anthony Appiah from The Ethics of Identity